Brett Nelson
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Brett Nelson

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Solo Folk Alternative

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"Lessons from the master: Ian Tyson shares experiences in music with fellow songwriters"

By Lana Michelin - Red Deer Advocate

Published: March 13, 2009 4:00 AM

Ian Tyson has inspired countless younger musicians to tell stories through songs, among them Neil Young, Paul Brandt, Judy Collins and Emmylou Harris.

Now the legendary Alberta singer is preparing to share the nuts and bolts of his craft at the next Songwriter's Circle in Red Deer.

Tyson, along with Red Deer folk singer Donna Durand, and Brett Nelson, of the Medicine Hat-area, are the featured Three Generations of Prairie Singer Songwriters who will take turns performing their original compositions on Wednesday, March 25, in Red Deer....

...Nelson, an avant guarde folk artist from Redcliff, represents the youngest generation of songwriters in the circle. And Durand, who described Nelson as poetic, well-read and introspective, believes this is the most important link. "I think it's all about the youth. People want to hear the younger voices” which is often shaped by the voice of experience.

"I love doing these kind of inter-generational things," Durand added. "They are truly reflective of the community."

Tickets to the 7:30 p.m. Songwriter's Circle (doors open at 7 p.m.) are $30 from The Matchbox box office - Lana Michelin


"Brett Nelson"

Brett Nelson
Featured in Swerve Magazine

When Brett Nelson talks about his songs, he’s prone to long pauses
as he thinks over his responses carefully. Certain ideas come up
more than once in his answers—the same notions of escape and
stepping away from modern life to gain another perspective that recur throughout
the six songs of his debut, Leave, Be. Given the nature of these ruminations
in both conversation and song, it seems perfectly fitting that he should communicate
them via mobile telephone while on a mountain hike in British Columbia,
the pebbled scratch of his footprints audible as he walks and talks.
Comprising 20 minutes of lightly brushed folk, revealing distant layers with
repeated listens, Leave, Be works as a veritable masterclass in miniature on
song structure and earnest lyricism. With its short, pointed treatises on loves
lost and places left (comparison to the Weakerthans’ John K. Sampson is
entirely fitting—both focus on the simplest, smallest details in their writing),
Leave, Be makes a strong claim for Nelson being the songwriting heart of his
home turf of Medicine Hat, and heralds the arrival of one of the province’s
finest voices. While Calgary has been hogging Alberta’s musical limelight
of late, credit is due in no small part to Nelson for putting the Gas City on
Canada’s musical map (alongside the raucous Mt. Royal, with whom he often
appears). “I’m just trying to figure it all out,” Nelson says, kicking up dust on
the mountain path. Given that he’s achieved small-scale genius so effortlessly
with Leave, Be’s smallest of running-times, it’s a path worth joining him on.

Track By Track
On the songs of Leave, Be

Heartcave “My brother and I spent two hours
recording random vocal tracks in my basement. It
was a really spiritual endeavour. It’s sort of about
a place where you can observe everything around
you. It’s a still place. The songs are all about different
ideas and different things to live by. In any
time of complete chaos you have to sit back and let
things just come as they will and be still with it.”

Bare Feet “I wrote ‘Bare Feet’ really quickly. It
kind of all came at once. It’s interesting when you
actually have to sit down and say why you wrote
something. That song is about stepping out of your
shoes and looking from a different perspective.
People are always waiting for something else to
show them the way through their own life, when
it’s really them that has to take the steps. This is
me interpreting my own songs, but you can say
whatever you want about it and it would be just
as true. I’m looking back at it as a completely
different person.”

Sands “The full title is ‘If The Sands Could Speak’.
It’s about time in a lot of different perspectives. I
feel like I’m getting really philosophical on you.
The first line is: ‘I’ll sail on this ever-growing sea,’
which is the idea of your consciousness growing
and becoming a part of something greater.
Everything has its own place in time.”

Blood & Water “The one I’m most proud of.
Someone said to me once: ‘Blood runs thicker than
water,’ and I thought about it and realized that
could mean so many different things. So I took it
into a few different perspectives. The first verse is a
young person looking off of a bridge into a river and
just wishing that she could move as smoothly and
as quickly as a river... Then, it follows a few different
stories that overlap. All the verses are different
stories, and they all tie together around the idea of
blood running thicker than water. I wrote it and then
looked at it and thought, ‘I wrote that?’”

The Rest “I moved out to the West Coast. (This
song) is really about the journey that I went through
out there. I was driven out there by something and
then came to grips with it when I was out there. It
was kind of a rough place. And so I came back to
kind of stand up again. Basically it’s the story of
someone sleepwalking and whatever they’re dreaming
is carrying them forward, and they wake up and
realize where they are. And they have to find their
way back to the start again. Realizing they have to
find their way back. Starting to actually wake up, I
guess, almost like for the first time.” - Mark Hamilton


Discography

Until Quiet Sounds Loud: Lost Songs (2012)
Buffalo Jump Art & Crafts (2010)
The Three EPs (2009)
Split w/ Steven Lind (2007)

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Currently at a loss for words...